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Becoming a College Softball Player

Kimberly Medina, college pitcher for the College of Mount Saint Vincent, shares her advice on becoming a college softball player. 

Becoming a college softball player has been one of the hardest tasks to accomplish and maintain. I started thinking about playing college softball once I started high school because I knew then and there that colleges look at your high school stats. So from then on, I set a goal to keep my stats pretty high. 

Dreams started becoming reality around sophomore year of high school because I started receiving awards from the city. I held my head high and thought maybe I can actually pull this through. Getting recruited though is a process. Let me give you some advice. Towards the beginning of the process, you have to start emailing coaches moderately early just to get on their radar. Just don’t expect to hear from coaches yet. 

The MOST IMPORTANT PART of the recruiting process is to have a well prepared video. If you have a video that sucks, some coaches don’t even bother emailing you back or gently turn you down and suggest you playing rec ball. You’d want to have a video that is sweet and straight to the point. Though the video is sweet and straight to the point, you’d want to write one wicked email that makes the coaches remember you. One mistake that is commonly made is addressing a coach with the incorrect name. It is extremely embarrassing. I can’t stress this next point enough; Stay in contact with the coaches!!! Do not wait for coaches to look for you, you have to look for them!! 

I followed the correct recruiting steps and I was recruited. Eventually I was recruited by the school that I thought was good for me. I was recruited by the former coach of the College of Mount Saint Vincent and I committed. The coach left and the program has now been led by head coach Richard Vaccaro. I had to prove myself to a new coach but I am proud to say I am a starting college pitcher for CMSV. 

College ball is way different compared to high school ball. It’s a way bigger commitment. From 5 am lifts to 10 pm practice and maintaining your GPA, this is not easy and you cannot slack otherwise you’re going to be benched. You have to fight back and show some spunk on the field. You have to prove to your coaches, why you deserve to be on the field and why you deserve to wear your school’s colors. If this is what you really want, it’s no problem. So ask yourself, do you really want to be a college softball player?

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Lady Tiger Leader finds a Home

Christopher Astacio, the highly praised coach of the Lady Tigers, tells us why he decided to be part of the group starting The League.

My softball coaching journey began with the Lady Tigers in 2013. A few years later in 2016, the team was invited onto the field at Yankee Stadium where they were honored and given the opportunity to run out with the Yankees.

The following year the Lady Tigers made headlines for their impact in the community and were invited onto the Ellen DeGeneres Show, where she gave us a check that would give the girls on the team opportunities they could only dream of. Eventually, their story was made into a book written by Dibs Baer, Lady Tigers in the Concrete Jungle. 

Violence was a way of life for the girls in the South Bronx. Some woke up to it at home, and others dodged it on the way to school. The Lady Tigers softball program was created to provide girls a positive outlet to be successful while living in chaos. My softball program set itself apart from others by incorporating the concept of college readiness. The emphasis was to expose my girls to the, “college-athlete experience” which took my girls on an educational adventure.

One of my fondest memories was when we raised enough money to send the team to Florida State University; the first of many trips to colleges and universities. They were able to play on the very field Jennie Finch and Monica Abbott played on in Chicago at Bandits Stadium. The Lady Tigers would get the opportunity to play at some of the top universities including Harvard. In the culminating year of the team, both captains of the Lady Tigers were named Valedictorian and Salutatorian of their graduating class in 2018, thus ending an era of greatness. 

Since then, I have been searching for a league that embodies the same ideals that I have implemented in my own program. Playing competitive sports has a transformative influence on young females which I have witnessed first hand throughout my years of coaching. Confidence surges with winning, of course, but losing may be even more impactful as it teaches strength through adversity. Working through struggles, continuing when it seems impossible and putting in the hard work to reach a goal are the experiences that build emotional strength. I found that there weren’t many leagues that embodied my same beliefs.

This is why I decided to be a part in creating The League for Fastpitch Softball. When approached to take part in creating something I could be proud of, my players and parents could be proud of and even all of New York City to be proud of, I jumped on board.  With The League,  you will be getting brilliant individuals dedicated to providing girls with structure and mentorship, as well as creating leaders in softball and in the community. I believe we at The League for Fastpitch Softball will not only provide these experiences but give young female athletes the tools required to continue their softball journey in college. 

 

 

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A Softball Dream

Yashira “Yoshie” Centeno shares what it would mean to play College Softball.

Growing up, I was raised around male figures, and I didn’t know much about softball.  Whenever I would see them, we would play with a branch we would take from a tree and a paper bag. I learned baseball was a thing and it was only for men but I loved playing this game.  When I was six, I got my own pink softball glove and my very first softball. Still knew nothing about softball, however I was so excited I got a ball to play with. I would throw the ball around. My fondest memory was when I threw with my aunt in Puerto Rico. Little did I know then that this would be the start of something special for me.

In sixth grade, I found out exactly what softball was. My gym teacher approached me and asked if I played softball. My answer was a simple, “No.” 

With encouragement from my gym teacher, I tried out and noticed that softball was exactly the same thing as baseball but just with girls. After a few years of playing softball, it became my home. It became my distraction from reality and the one thing that made me happy through the rough times. 

Playing softball is very important to me for a few reasons. It has brought me amazing people who feel the same way about softball. It has brought me positivity and joy; something I don’t take for granted. It hasn’t been all perfect and without adversity as I have had things like injuries. Softball has offered me many lessons that I have learned from. 

I am currently a senior in high school and ever since I started playing organized softball, people have encouraged me to play softball in college. Many times I have heard, “Would love to see you play in college,” as people have complimented me on how well I play. Playing in college would mean so much to me personally though. It would be a dream come true. Once I really learned what softball was, Florida State University is where I always wanted to play. Who knows, you may see me playing there one day. At this point, playing college softball period, would bring me so much joy. That will be a long way from that little girl who didn’t know about this wonderful game that was made for me and girls like me.